Speaking at Dalloway Day – Hatchards Piccadilly

I’m delighted to be celebrating Dalloway Day at the brilliant Hatchards Piccadilly on 22nd June 2024. I’ll be in conversation with writer Matthew Beaumont “to reflect on walking in London both in Mrs Dalloway’s 1920s and today.”

“In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.” Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

Tickets available here

Video: In conversation with Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly

Here’s the full unedited video of my wonderful conversation with Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly on 25th January. The event was to discuss my new book, Welcome to New London – journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city but we wandered as we’re wont to do and even had a chat about Iain’s latest book Pariah Genius.

Buy Welcome to New London: journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city from Hatchards here

Iain Sinclair’s new book Pariah Genius is published on 25th April 2024

South Bank book trawling

‘The Unknown Trail’

‘Border, By-ways and Lothian Lore’

‘In Quest of Peril’

Some of the enticing titles embossed on old cloth spines on the South Bank book market outside the BFI. Browsing these tables brings back great memories of my NFT days – book collecting chats back in the box office, trawling for treasure and knowledge. The excitement of the hunt. My hasty steps ground to a halt and I’m drawn into another dimension of time.

Walter Benjamin on The Flâneur

“Before Haussmann wide pavements were rare, and the narrow ones afforded little protection from vehicles. Strolling could hardly have assumed the importance it did without the arcades.

Paris Arcade

“The arcades, a rather recent invention of industrial luxury,’ so says an illustrated guide to Paris of 1852, ‘are glass-covered, marble-panelled passageways through entire complexes of houses whose proprietors have combined for such speculations. Both sides of these passageways, which are lighted from above, are lined with the most elegant shops, so that such an arcade is a city, even a world, in miniature.’ It is in this world that the flâneur is at home; he provides ‘the favourite sojourn of the strollers and the smokers, the stamping ground of all sorts of little métiers’,’ with its chronicler and its philosopher. As for him-self, he obtains there the unfailing remedy for the kind of boredom that easily arises under the baleful eyes of a satiated reactionary regime. In the words of Guys as quoted by Baudelaire, ‘Anyone who is capable of being bored in a crowd is a blockhead. I repeat: a blockhead, and a contemptible one.’ The arcades were a cross between a street and an intérieur. If one can speak of an artistic device of the physiologies, it is the proven device of the feuilleron, namely, to turn a boulevard into an intérieur. The street 4a becomes a dwelling for the flâneur; he is as much at home among the façades of houses as a citizen is in his four walls. To him the shiny, enamelled signs of businesses are at least as good a wall ornament as an oil painting is to a bourgeois in his salon. The walls are the desk against which he presses his notebooks; news-stands are his libraries and the terraces of cafés are the balconies from which he looks down on his household after his work is done. That life in all its variety and inexhaustible wealth of variations can thrive only among the grey cobblestones and against the grey background of despotism was the political secret on which the physiologies were based.”

From Charles Baudelaire by Walter Benjamin published by Verso which comprises of extracts from The Arcades Project

The Invention of Essex at Wanstead Book Festival

Tim Burrows and John Rogers at Wanstead Book Festival, Wanstead Library 29th September 2023. Photo by Giles Wilson.
photo by Giles Wilson

It was a real pleasure to have an onstage conversation with Tim Burrows on Friday evening, about his recently published book, The Invention of Essex. The event was part of the Wanstead Book Festival organised by Giles Wilson as part of the Wanstead Fringe Festival – a three week celebration of arts and culture that featured around 120 events.

Tim’s book takes beneath the veneer of TOWIE and all the litany of stereotypes that have been foisted upon this complex county that seems to been a bellwether location for how the nation feels about itself. The book is also a fascinating exploration of the topography of Essex, the ‘maligned marshes’ and the deadly Essex agues.

Welcome to New London - journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city by John Rogers at Wanstead Fringe Festival 29th September 2023

It was also the first public appearance of my new book Welcome to New London – journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city. I believe Wanstead Bookshop has a few copies left over from last night and Newham Bookshop should have some in stock from Monday.

Welcome to New London - journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city by John Rogers at Wanstead Fringe Festival 29th September 2023

The book is also available to pre-order on Amazon and from other booksellers using the ISBN: 9781739539207

Welcome to New London book launch

Welcome to New London

I’m delighted to announce that my new book, Welcome to New London – journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city is being launched at the brilliant Wanstead Tap on 10th & 11th October. Tickets can be purchased here and books will be available on the night.

Book synopsis

Iain Sinclair has described Welcome to New London as, “An invaluable and informed super-tour by the Cobbett of YouTube. As immediately readable and engrossing as a Rogers film.”

After the 2012 Olympics London once again entered a period of radical change, one that some people came to see as a battle for the very soul of one of the greatest cities in the world. John Rogers embarked on a series of journeys and encounters in a quest to understand what was going on.

In ‘Welcome to New London’ John Rogers invites us to join him on a captivating voyage through the ever-changing landscapes and communities of this iconic city. As a follow-up to ‘This Other London,’ ‘Welcome to New London’ continues Rogers’ exploration of the city from a unique perspective.

The story begins in 2013 as the Olympic village in Stratford transitioned to become a new permanent settlement, and the Stratford City plan became a reality. This excursion sparks an exploration of the Olympic Park and its surrounding areas, where a wave of development is reshaping the Lower Lea Valley.

The narrative seamlessly weaves through various facets of London’s transformation, from the Focus E15 Mothers’ occupation of homes on Carpenters Estate, a poignant symbol of the housing crisis, to the global attention garnered by campaigns like Save Soho and Save Tin Pan Alley. The book also chronicles the author’s involvement in efforts to help residents of the Sweets Way Estate and other housing campaigns, offering readers an intimate look at the human stories behind London’s changing landscape.

Intriguingly, the Rogers delves into the city’s ancient history following a chance conversation with a Pearly Punk King on the rooftop of the old Foyles building. This encounter takes him through Epping Forest to the prehistory of London in the Upper Lea Valley, unearthing Bronze Age burial mounds and their significance in understanding London’s historical roots and its enduring connection to its past.

Rogers embarks on a series of walks with acclaimed writer Iain Sinclair, providing a thought-provoking commentary on London’s future. And then somehow the United Nations sent him to Peckham to explore the concept of the ‘Open City,’ tying together the book’s themes and returning to the Olympic Park as a focal point.

“Welcome to New London” is not just a book about a city; it’s a vivid, personal account of a city in flux, where the author’s passion for exploration and his commitment to bearing witness to change converge. With its richly detailed chapters and thought-provoking commentary, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Please contact me via the contact form above for further info, events, interviews and any other enquiries.